File spoon-archives/blanchot.archive/blanchot_1999/blanchot.9903, message 23

Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 11:29:53 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: MB: Re: inside, etc.

I'd like very much to read George Quasha's "Publishing Blanchot in America"
and also to thank him, Lydia Davis, and Station Hill Press for bringing
Blanchot's writings to America.

In William Flesch's wonderful forward to my book, _Radical Passivity_, on
Blanchot (and Levinas and Agamben) he speaks of an American context for
Blanchot, drawing on Wallace Stevens's remark: French and English
constitute a single language.

Regarding the creative ACT, Claire asks about, I am trying, without much
success so far, to write about inspiration in poetry/writing (Blanchot) and
ethics (Levinas).  I'm reading again "The Gaze of Orpheus" which has many
extraordinary things to say about inspiration.  I think there's no
creation, and no ethical responsibility, without encoutering the 'other'
night and without insomnia and everything that that entails.  Somehow, for
me, it's only when I come to the end of words that I am able to write even
acadmic stuff. Attempting to write anything, my sleep schedule disappears,
I lose my appetite, then find it again at odd moments, I turn day into
night and night into day, doubt into certainty and certainty into doubt,
time into its absence (as Blanchot would say), and the closer I get to what
I want to say, the further it receeds.  It's a perverse logic: the more it
is ---, the more it isn't --- and I discover the impatience that Levinas's
turns into an ethics and that Blanchot turns into a discretion without
reserve.  Only, I end up with stuff that barely scratches the surface!  I
am limited and limits are terrible because they face an outside, so I can
only be "near" to this outside when I remain faithful to my limits!  (I say
this as an academic in the midst of trying to write something worth saying,
something real).  (An actually, all that sometimes tiresome language of
distinctions and comparisons that go on in academia--all that is, can be, a
way of coming to the end of words.)

Tom Wall


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